Musings on Music


Gary Friel, university  teacher and lifelong music fan (and musician), muses on music in an occasional column.
Gary also has an excellent youtube channel with the aim of allowing teachers to drill basic grammar in interesting and realistic ways. 



16 February 2017

In the first 25 years of Roger Waters’ recording career he released 12 albums with Pink Floyd (from Piper At The Gates of Dawn to The Final Cut) and 3 solo albums. In the 25 years since his last solo album (Amused To Death) he has released no new material… until now. His first solo album in 25 years is called Is This The Life We Really Want?. Waters hasn’t given a specific date for its release, saying just that it will be “soon”.

24 January 2017

The Köln Concert is a concert recording by the pianist Keith Jarrett of solo piano improvisations performed at the Opera House in the German town of Köln on January 24, 1975.

The concert was organized by a 17-year-old girl, Vera Brandes. Due to a misunderstanding, Jarrett wasn’t given the piano he requested. Instead he was given a rehearsal piano that was in poor condition. It was tinny and thin in the upper registers and weak in the bass register, and the pedals did not work properly. Consequently, Jarrett used ostinatos and rolling left-hand rhythmic figures during his Köln performance to give the effect of stronger bass notes, and concentrated his playing in the middle portion of the keyboard.
Jarrett had arrived at the opera house late in the afternoon, tired after an exhausting long drive from Zürich, Switzerland, where he had performed a few days earlier. He had not slept well in several nights and was in pain from back problems and had to wear a brace. After trying out the substandard piano and learning a replacement instrument was not available, Jarrett nearly refused to play and Brandes had to convince him to perform as the concert was scheduled to begin in just a few hours.

The recording became the best-selling solo album in jazz history, and the best-selling piano album of all time.

22 January 2017

The 21st of January marked the 40th anniversary of the release of Pink Floyd’s Animals album. Released during the height of punk it was every bit as politically vitriolic as anything the punk scene produced. Roger Waters has begun playing this track again, with a new target in mind.


17 January 2017

Fifty years ago today the British tabloid The Daily Mail reported, “There are 4,000 holes in the road in Blackburn, Lancashire, or one twenty-sixth of a hole per person, according to a council survey. If Blackburn is typical, there are two million holes in Britain’s roads and 300,000 in London.” John Lennon said, “I was reading the paper one day and I noticed two stories. One was the Guinness heir who killed himself in a car. That was the main headline story. He died in London in a car crash. On the next page was a story about four thousand potholes in the streets of Blackburn, Lancashire, that needed to be filled.” 

09 January 2017

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, U2 will perform the entire album on their 2017 tour. European dates include London (08/07/17), Rome (15/07/17) and their hometown of Dublin (22/07/17).

 Musings on Music: September – December 2016

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